Saturday, 16 May 2009

Wu Wei in Society

Following my last post on Wu Wei, C Maggi (visit his website - asked me about how it could be applied to the society in a broader context. It brought to mind the Taoist phrase:

"Ruling a country is like cooking a small fish."

Okay... stay with me here.... It doesn't mean we need a high temperature and lots of oil !!!! (Oil has got us into enough trouble as it is!) The analogy of cooking a small fish is that if you turn it over too often, it will break up into smaller pieces. So if you make too many laws, dictate and meddle too much, the country will become confused and fall apart under the weight of legislature. Never has this been more evident than in the UK, with our present government. They really are trying too hard. They do not know wu wei. Our current government is obsessed with measurement, targets and prescriptive procedure. Our present situation with MP's expenses is a prime example, with the excuses that the "system needs changing."

No matter what system is in place, if people want to cheat it, they will. Changing the rules will not stop people from stealing. You have to change the people. In America, they have the ultimate punishment for murder - the death penalty. Yet people still kill each other. Why?

... because they don't value their own lives. We must teach each other to value ourselves - not by our wealth or fame, but by our intrinsic individuality. Education is the key, and we are getting it SO WRONG.

Education has been designed to prepare our children for work. Nothing more. It has sought to make our children acquire the next set of skills demanded by industry. Since the late 1800's we have been exploiting the minds of our children, cramming perfectly natural circular pegs into symmetrical, uniform, square holes. The result is a society that lives for sex, mindless celebrity and souless consumption. There is no time for a child to discover who they are. They are measured, categorised, told what they want and forced into into jobs where they continue to be measured and categorised. The average worker lives in mortal fear of mistakes and redundancy - and those who don't have jobs are made to feel like they have failed - because life has no other options other than crime.

So what's to be done? When children go to school, ASK them what they want to learn about - and teach them accordingly. A curious child will learn far faster than a bullied child. Let them use their wu wei to discover their path for themselves and shape their own education. When a child grows up doing what they instinctively know is right, they live happily with a natural goodness.

Religion - should only deal with what happens after death. All religions should move away from prescriptive laws and rules governing the living. Once again, fear of death is a great driver for pain, anguish, and crime. This is where religion serves a useful purpose. When you remove people's fears, you allow them to revert to their natural goodness.

Sensitivity to the environment - a fundamental requirement of wu wei is only just being discovered by our scientists. We are starting to understand the affect we are having on this planet. But this sensitivity is not yet being taught properly to our children, so the ecological change that is required will probably not happen in my lifetime.

I will leave you with a final thought.... A successful country may have weapons of war, but they ought to lie rusting in fields - unused.

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